Houston releases a statement on Michael Young’s lawsuit

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Over the weekend, Joseph Young’s father, Michael, went public with a lawsuit that he filed against the University of Houston regarding his employment and his son’s status as a member of the basketball team.

Long story short, Michael was the Director of Basketball Operations and was reassigned into a program without any association with the basketball team around the same time that his son decided to transfer out of the program. Joseph has since committed to Oregon, and will need a waiver from the NCAA to use his final two seasons of eligibility. Michael is claiming in the lawsuit that the job he received was a no-show job where he would still get paid as long as his son played for the school, and he’s looking to get the contract voided so as to avoid having it be an NCAA violation.

On Wednesday, the school sent out a release responding to the accusations made by the Youngs.

“The University offered the new contract to Young containing the community relations duties, and he signed the contract on May 30, 2013,” the release said. “The University has continued its obligations under this new contract and has tried to assign him duties, only to be rebuffed by Young’s attorney. However, because Young, through his attorney, refused to perform any duties under the new contract, the University was compelled to provide notice to Young on June 17, 2013, that it was exercising its right under the contract to terminate the contract on 30 days’ notice. The University will continue its contractual obligations to pay Young through July 17, 2013.”

“At no time was Young informed that he should or could sit at home, not perform work and accept a paycheck from the University, nor was Young ever told his employment was contingent on his son playing basketball for the University. Young’s arrangement in his new community relations role was reviewed by the Athletic Department’s compliance office, as well as the Office of the General Counsel, to ensure it was in compliance with applicable laws and NCAA bylaws.  The University has been transparent, and its actions have been appropriate. We are disheartened and saddened to hear these allegations we believe are baseless and untrue.  We do not intend to comment further except to state we look forward to defending our actions in court.”

As John Infante of the Bylaw Blog notes, the elder Young was, essentially, fired on June 17th, meaning that his son’s path to a waiver with Oregon should be clear; the outcome of this lawsuit probably won’t affect whether or not the NCAA allows him to play next season.

Now the question becomes whether or not Houston actually committed an NCAA violation when they reassigned Young. As Infante explains here, Bylaw 11.4.2 says that within two years, either before or after a player enrolls at a school, that school cannot sign a contract with anyone associated with the athlete unless that person takes a spot as one of the school’s three assistant coaches. The intent was to eliminate package deals where the coach or parent of a player would get a job on the coaching staff — i.e. assistant strength and conditioning director — in exchange for the player signing with the school.

Young was reassigned and signed a new contract that , which, by the letter of the law, violates a rule. Houston makes it clear that the job they hired Young for was not a no-show job, but, as Infante says, “real jobs as just as prohibited by Bylaw 11.4.2 as fake jobs“:

A reassignment is different than a promotion, raise, extension, or renegotiation of a contract. Everyone agrees that this is a “new contract”. And the grandfather clause says “contracts signed” before Bylaw 11.4.2 was proposed can be honored, not “employment started” before that date.

But I might not be disagreeing with Houston, I might be disagreeing with the NCAA. Houston possibly, maybe even likely, got an interpretation from the NCAA, Conference USA, or both. In which case it doesn’t matter how I read the bylaw, I’m wrong and they are correct.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I get the feeling that it will be all but forgotten if Joseph Young gets his waiver from the NCAA.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.